1.2 Force, dominance and control

Taking societal dynamics into account, violence can be defined as the misuse of force or power to deny the rights and freedom of choice on another. In the context of domestic violence, the aim is to dominate and control the partner and to restrict her/his rights and freedom of choice. Acts which deprive the right to make one’s own choices and impede personal development and growth therefore range from physical to non-physical forms of violence. Perpetrators use tactics of control and domination such as threats, intimidation, economic control, minimization and denial. While male partners try to assert male dominance and privilege, this explanation cannot be applied to elucidate violent behaviour in women.


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European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.

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